Brennan Manning went to heaven this week. I'm sure he was met by scores of ragamuffins, waving, doing happy dances, and giving him big high-fives. I wouldn't be surprised if that heavenly rabble was led by one of the biggest ragamuffins of all...Peter! If you have ever felt like a big fat failure, a hypocrite, or a loser, you'll love Brennan Manning.
There is no eulogy that could adequately describe Brennan Manning. It's best just to read his words. Here's his forward to "The Ragamuffin Gospel."
- "The Ragamuffin Gospel was written with a specific reading audience in mind.
- This book is not for the super-spiritual.
- It is not for muscular Christians who have made John Wayne and not Jesus their hero.
- It is not for academicians who would imprison Jesus in the ivory tower of exegesis.
- It is not for noisy, feel-good folks who manipulate Christianity into a naked appeal to emotion.
- It is not for hooded mystics who want magic in their religion.
- It is not for Alleluia Christians who live only on the mountaintop and have never visited the valley of desolation.
- It is not for the fearless and tearless.
- It is not for red-hot zealots who boast with the rich young ruler of the gospels; "All these commandments I have kept from my youth."
- It is not for the complacent, hoisting over their shoulder a tote-bag of honors, diplomas, and good works actually believing they have it made. (If you see a hyperlink here, don't push it. It's not mine but I can't make it go away!)
- It is not for legalists who would rather surrender control of their souls to rules than run the risk of living in union with Jesus.
- If anyone is still reading along, The Ragamuffin Gospel was written for the bedraggled, beat-up, and burnt-out.
- It is for the sorely burdened who are still shifting the heavy suitcase from one hand to the other.
- It is for the wobbly and weak-kneed who know they don't have it altogether and are too proud to accept the handout of amazing grace.
- It is for the inconsistent, unsteady disciples whose cheese is falling off their cracker.
- It is for the poor, weak, sinful men and women with hereditary faults and limited talents.
- It is for earthen vessels who shuffle along on feet of clay.
- It is for the bent and the bruised who feel that their lives are a grave disappointment to God.
- It is for smart people who know that they are stupid and honest disciples who admit they are scalawags.
- The Ragamuffin Gospel is a book I wrote for myself and anyone who has grown weary and discouraged along the Way."
Hey Brennan, if you can hear me up there...you made it man! Woo-hoo! Jesus carried you through, just like you said He would! Thanks for all your help. I'm still reading your book down here and shuffling along on feet of clay. I'm still a stupid scalawag who's crawling about on the kitchen floor; searching for the cheese that fell off my cracker. Thanks to you, I can admit that. I'll see you on the other side...